My fertility diet
Welcome back everyone! Today I am going to discuss my fertility diet. In my previous post I mentioned all the foods that I eliminated, so today I will expand on that. Your diet is so important!! You know the age old saying "you are what you eat", well this is so true! I totally believe that food is medicine!
Now I know that these diet changes may seem excessive and overwhelming, but you can start out slowly if you need to ;) When I started implementing all the diet changes, I couldn't cut out diary immediately, I really enjoyed my coffee (this was the absolute hardest thing to cut out, but I replaced it with organic decaf.....but more on this to come) with milk, but I soon realised that I need to eliminate diary if I was going to be serious about my fertility. Sugar was also quite a difficult one, I have a very sweet tooth, but once you are get over the initial cravings and sugar detox, you realise how easy it is to manage without it and how highly addictive sugar really is! The things that kept me going on this diet without "cheating" is this......you can do anything for a few months, it's not forever, think of the great reward and when you have your baby in your arms, you can eat all the pizza (my favourite food) and ice-cream that you want! But really amazing things happened to me and my body after following this diet, so it really does become a way of life, I will blog more about this later on.
This fertility diet is simply an anti-inflammatory diet, which is important to any one who is trying to conceive, because inflammation in the body reduces your fertility. This is why all inflammation causing foods are eliminated. Makes sense right! Another very important aspect of this diet, is to improve your egg health or egg quality. When you suffer with infertility the quality of your eggs are extremely important, especially if you have short supply in cases of POF or DOR, and in my instance my age was also against me, as your age has a huge impact on your egg quality, so I really needed to focus on improving my egg quality and make each egg count! It takes 90 days to improve your egg health and you need to eat lots of healthy fats. This is a diet high in good fats and protein with limited carbs. It is very similar to Paleo and the Whole 30 diets.
Here is what I eliminated from my diet:
Sugar and sweeteners including natural sweeteners such as honey, agave, coconut sugar etc. Refined or white carbs - white bread, white rice, white flour and pasta. Alcohol, eeeeek no more wine! - all these foods cause a spike in your blood sugar which causes an insulin response, this negatively effects your egg health for up to 90 days. The aim is to maintain your blood sugar levels by eating foods that are Low on the Glycemic index (Low GI).
Fruit with a high fructose content such as dates, bananas, grapes, pineapple, the list goes on and on unfortunately, I am only mentioning a few to give you the general idea.
Caffeine - it has been proven that caffeine leads to decreased birth rates.
Soy - contains phyto-estrogens which mimic the real deal estrogen in the body. If you are trying to balance your hormones or if you have estrogen dominance, it is better to avoid soy. In my case I had very low estrogen, but I still did not eat soy as I did not want to confuse my hormones or my body. Another important thing to note is that most soy has been genetically modified (GMO), so read your food labels carefully. If you are consuming any soy products, ensure it is GMO free.
Diary - may cause inflammation in the body due to a food intolerance.
Gluten - may cause inflammation in the body due to a food intolerance.
Peas - believe it or not, but peas are a natural form of birth control, they contain a chemical called m-xylohydroquinone which was used as a contraceptive.
Raw foods - (except Romaine lettuce) the body uses plenty of energy to digest raw vegetables especially the cruciferous kind, rather let your body use that energy to grow healthy eggs and to heal itself.
Cold foods - in Chinese medicine cold and frozen foods can chill your uterus, this makes it an unfriendly environment for the embryo to implant. It's important to nourish your body and keep your uterus as warm and inviting as possible. Chat to your Acupuncturist about this.
Processed foods - are high in sugar, sodium and contains chemicals. They have very low nutritional value and high calorie value.
Tinned foods - tin cans have a plastic lining on the inside, this plastic contains harmful chemicals such as BPA, which can leach into the food inside the can.
Trans fats - are chemically altered fats that increase your bad cholesterol.
My diet consisted of mainly organic wholefoods:
Plenty of greens and vegetables, mostly organic where possible such as spinach, kale, broccoli, couchettes, green beans, cauliflower, cabbage and patty pans.
Lean beef, poultry and fish, mostly organic where possible.
Seeds and nuts such as sunflower and sesame seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, almonds, walnuts and nut butters. I ate 2 brazil nuts per day which contains almost 200% of the daily recommended allowance of Selenium. Selenium acts as a powerful anti-oxidant and can promote healthy follicles and reduce the risk of miscarriage.
Avocados - I ate avo almost everyday, avo is full of healthy fats, mainly monounsaturated fat which decreases inflammation and keeps your heart healthy.
Free range eggs - a good source of protein and healthy fats.
Beans, lentils, chickpeas and quinoa - great sources of protein.
All berries and Granny Smith apples - berries are high in anti-oxidants and these fruits are low in sugar, it can help curb that sweet tooth craving you may have.
Chicken bone broth - excellent for gut health and a great source of protein.
Coconut oil for cooking and coconut milk - contains healthy fats called medium-chain triglycerides which are good for the brain.
Fertility smoothie daily packed with greens, fats and superfoods.
Fertility bread - homemade high fat, protein bread, great for your daily fat and protein requirements.
Herbal infusion I drank daily made of stinging nettle - acts as a uterine tonic that helps strengthen and tone the uterus, detoxifying and reduces stress. Raspberry leaf - balances hormones and strengthens uterine wall. Red clover - detoxifying, improves circulatory function and the best pre-pregnancy tonic.
So this is the diet I followed, but remember everyone is different, so you need to tailor make this diet to your specific needs. An absolute must have resource is the book "It starts with the egg" by Rebecca Fett, this is science based research on how improving egg quality can help with infertility. Her book outlines diet, lifestyle and supplements for many different fertility challenges. Thank you to Anna Rapp from "To Make a Mommy" for recommending this book.
I will blog on many individual aspects of my diet soon and include yummy recipes too!
Please join me next time when I blog about embracing a non-toxic lifestyle.